The use of unmanned aerial vehicles for health purposes: a systematic review of experimental studies

R. M. Carrillo-Larco, M. Moscoso-Porras, A. Taype-Rondan, A. Ruiz-Alejos, A. Bernabe-Ortiz

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Background: Unmanned aircraft vehicles (UAVs) have had a rapid escalation in manageability and affordability, which can be exploited in healthcare. We conducted a systematic review examining the use of drones for health-related purposes. Methods: A search was conducted in Medline, Embase, Global Health, Scopus, CINAHL and SciELO. Experimental studies were selected if the population included human subjects, the intervention was the use of UAVs and there was a health-related outcome. Results: Of 500 results, five met inclusion criteria during an initial search. An updated search yielded four additional studies. Nine studies, all in high-income countries, were included for systematic syntheses: four studies addressed out-of-hospital cardiac arrest emergencies, three assessed drones for identification of people after accidents, one used drones to transport blood samples and one used drones to improve surgical procedures in war zones. Conclusions: Research on the use of drones in healthcare is limited to simulation scenarios, and this review did not retrieve any studies from low- and middle-income countries.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e13
JournalGlobal health, epidemiology and genomics
StatePublished - 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Disasters
  • drones
  • emergencies
  • healthcare
  • unmanned aerial vehicles


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